New Accessibility features in iOS 12

Published by Jordan Stanley on the 2nd October 2018

In this blog post Jordan takes a look at some updates made to Apple's new iOS 12 operating system to improve its set of accessibility features.

With Apple’s recent release of iOS 12 in September this year, we take a look at some essential updates that have been made to the operating system to improve its set of accessibility features.

As we saw in our recent article, Android 9 Pie was delivered with a suite of accessibility upgrades. So how does Apple’s latest OS compare?

  • New Commands for Braille Display Users – To assist with quicker navigation of web pages and documents, new braille display commands have been added. The commands are user-configurable and do not have keyboard commands assigned to them by default.
  • Speak Confirmation – This feature allows users to choose whether they have VoiceOver confirmation that specific tasks have been carried out. For example, this setting will affect whether VoiceOver speaks confirmation if a message has been deleted from the Mail app; or whether an app has been closed in the App Switcher. You can find this new option in the Verbosity section of VoiceOver settings.
  • Irish and South African voices – Siri has had new Irish and South African voices added. The voices are also available for VoiceOver, Speak screen, and all features utilising iOS voices.

These additions complement some of the existing accessibility features of the iOS operating system including:

  • Captioning and Audio Descriptions – Allows users to configure captions and audio descriptions during video playback.
  • Custom Display – A selection of features to customise the display, including Bold Text, High Contrast Cursors, Reduce Transparency, Dark Mode, and Reduce Motion. App developers can utilise UIAccessibility APIs to monitor when these settings are enabled so that apps behave correctly.
  • Speech – Devices running iOS are able to read any selected text from an app out loud. It’s available in over 30 languages, and users can adjust the dialect and speaking rate of the voice.
  • VoiceOver – The iOS screen reader interacts with objects in an application allowing users to control the app without being able to see it. VoiceOver is essential to ensure that applications are accessible for all.
  • Guided Access – Helping people with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay focused on activities.

So what do you think? Who’s doing more for accessibility users, iOS or Android? Get in touch to let us know your thoughts.

You can find out more about the range of iOS accessibility features at the Apple Developer website.


If you’d like to speak to Jordan about accessibility or Zoonou’s device library, please contact him at or on 01323 433700. Please see our Accessibility Testing page to find out more about how we can help you build accessible applications.

To speak to a member of the team about anything else, please see our Contact page or you can reach us at

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